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2002 FIFA World Cup Draw Preview: Asia & CONCACAF


The second of five 2002 FIFA World Cup Final Draw previews from U.S. Soccer follows. Today's preview features the four Asian and three CONCACAF qualifiers.  Tomorrow the first half of Europe's 15 qualifiers will be featured.  Media and fans can follow the Final Draw as it unfolds by logging on to the Philips DrawTracker on ussoccer.com, which will feature real-time updates of the event.

ASIA

CHINA Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 55th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Asia “Group 2” (6-1-1; 13 GF, 2 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 15-2-5
World Cup final appearances: 1 – 2002
Overall Record in WC: First appearance
Record vs. USA: 1-4-2; 6 GF, 13 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: USA 2, China 1 in Oakland, Calif.; January 27, 2001 (McBride, Own Goal; Qu Bo)
Manager: Bora Milutinovic (SER)
Key Players:  Fan Zhiyi (D, Dundee), Li Weifeng (D, Shenzhan Pingan)

Fast Facts: The world’s most populous country, China is making their first appearance in a World Cup … One of four rookie nations in the 2002 tournament (Ecuador, Senegal and Slovenia are the others) … Were led into the tournament by former U.S. head coach Bora Milutinovic, the only man to coach four different World Cup teams into the second round … Have finished third at the Asian Cup championship three times (1984, 1988, & 2000). 

JAPAN Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 35th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as co-host
2001 Overall Record: 6-3-2
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1998 (31st), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 0-3-0
Record vs. USA: 1-0-0; 3 GF, 1 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: Japan 3, USA 1 in Tokyo; March 14, 1993 (Miura-2, Own Goal; Perez)
Manager: Philippe Troussier (FRA)
Championship Honors: 1992 & 2000 Asian Cup champions
Key Players: Hidetoshi Nakata (M, Parma), Shinji Ono (F, Feyenoord)

Fast Facts: Have been an emerging force on the soccer scene at the youth level, and will be looking to make an impact as host … Won the Asian Cup in Lebanon in October 2000 under head coach Philippe Troussier (who also led the team to the finals of the 2001 FIFA Confederations’ Cup, and guided Japan’s U-23 team to the quarterfinals of the 2000 Olympics, where they were eliminated by the U.S.) … Led by two-time Asian Player of the Year Hidetoshi Nakata of Parma. 

KOREA REPUBLIC Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking:
43rd
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as co-host
2001 Overall Record: 7-4-4*
World Cup final appearances: 6 – 1954 (16th), 1986 (20th), 1990 (22nd), 1994 (20th), 1998 (30th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 0-10-4
Record vs. USA: 2-0-1; 4 GF, 2 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: USA 1, South Korea 1, in Fullerton, Calif.; March 12, 1994 (Balboa; Own Goal)
Manager: Guus Hiddink (NED)
Championship Honors: 1956 & 1960 Asian Cup champions
Key Players: Hong Myung-Bo (D, Kashiwa Reysol), Ahn Jung-Hwan (F, Perugia)

Fast Facts: The more experienced of the two co-hosts, they are making their fifth straight appearance in a World Cup. … Their six overall World Cup appearances are the most of any Asian nation … Led by Dutch head coach Guus Hiddink, they did not advance out of their four-team group in the 2001 FIFA Confederations’ Cup, unlike co-host Japan who advanced to the finals.

* does not include USA at Korea Republic on Dec. 9
 

SAUDI ARABIA Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 30th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Asia “Group 1” (5-1-2; 17 GF, 8 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 15-3-3
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1994 (12th), 1998 (28th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 2-4-1
Record vs. USA: 2-3-1; 8 GF, 9 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: USA 2, Saudi Arabia 0, in Guadalajara, Mexico; August 3, 1999 (Bravo, McBride)
Manager: No manager
Championship Honors: 1984, 1988 & 1996 Asian Cup champions
Key Players: Talal al-Meshal (F, Al Ahli), Sami Al-Jaber (M, Al Hillal)

Fast Facts: One of the surprises of the 1994 World Cup in the U.S., they came in 12th place (the best finish for an Asian team in World Cup play since North Korea advanced to the quarterfinals in 1966) … Saudi Arabia scored 43 goals in their qualifying effort, the most of any qualifying nation ... In their last meeting with the U.S., the United States downed Saudi Arabia to claim third place in the 1999 Confederations Cup … Led by Talal al-Meshal in qualifying scoring with 11 goals.

CONCACAF

COSTA RICA Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking:
29th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished first in CONCACAF Final Group (7-1-2; 17 GF, 7 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 12-3-6
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1990 (13th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 2-2-0
Record vs. USA: 9-8-4; 24 GF, 20 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: Costa Rica 2, USA 0 in San Jose, Costa Rica; September 5, 2001 (Fonseca-2)
Manager: Alexander Guimares (CRC)
Key Players: Paulo Wanchope (F, Manchester City), Rolando Fonseca (M, Communicaciones)

Fast Facts: Qualified for their second World Cup by winning CONCACAF with a record 23 points … In 1990, Costa Rica became the first Central American country to advance past the first round … Were led by Rolando Fonseca and Paulo Wanchope in the final round of qualifying with five and four goals respectively … Two of Fonseca’s goals came in a Cup-clinching 2-0 win at home over the U.S. on Sept. 5, 2001. 

MEXICO Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking:
11th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in CONCACAF Final Group (5-3-2; 16 GF, 9 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 11-12-4
World Cup final appearances: 12 – 1930 (13th), 1950 (12th), 1954 (13th), 1958 (16th), 1962 (11th), 1966 (12th), 1970 (6th), 1978 (16th), 1986 (6th), 1994 (13th), 1998 (13th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 8-19-10
Record vs. USA: 28-8-4; 109 GF, 49 GA
Most Recent Match vs. USA: Mexico 1, USA 0 in Mexico City; July 1, 2001 (Borgetti)
Manager: Javier Aguirre (MEX)
Championship Honors: 1999 Confederations Cup champions; 1993, 1996 & 1998 Gold Cup champions
Key Players: Francisco Palencia (F, Espanyol), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (F, Real Valladolid), Alberto Garcia Aspe (F, Puebla)

Fast Facts: Have successfully qualified for their 12th World Cup, the most of any country in the CONCACAF region … After earning just four points in their first five games (which included their first-ever home qualifying loss at Estadio Azteca), new head coach Javier Aguirre led a rebirth for the team in finishing 4-0-1 and eventually finishing in second place … Were led in scoring by Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Jared Borgetti with five and three goals, respectively.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Profile:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 20th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished third in CONCACAF Final Group (5-3-2; 11 GF, 8 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 6-5-3*
World Cup final appearances: 7 – 1930 (3rd), 1934 (16th), 1950 (10th), 1990 (23rd), 1994 (14th), 1998 (32nd), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 4-12-1
Record vs. 2002 WC Teams: 43-95-31
Manager: Bruce Arena (USA)
Championship Honors: 1991 Gold Cup champions
Key Players: Claudio Reyna (M, Rangers), Earnie Stewart (M, NAC Breda), Chris Armas (M, Chicago Fire)

Fast Facts: When the U.S. clinched a spot in the 2002 World Cup on Oct. 7 at Foxboro Stadium, it marked the first time in the team’s history they celebrated clinching a World Cup berth on home soil ... With 398 “A” internationals to their credit, the U.S. has played just eight games in their history against African opponents, including just four against the five World Cup qualifiers from Africa (the U.S. has a 2-1-1 record in those matches).

* does not include USA at Korea Republic on Dec. 9

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